Okay, I’m going to put this out here, and I'm sure some unsuspecting readers will be frothing at the mouth by the time it's over, if they're not already. I've been thinking about this for quite a while now; I've been trying to figure out how to address so many issues in one blog post, but the thing is, nearly all of them share a common threat, and it's best to focus right in on that one.
I was born in '65, and technically, kinda-sorta-maybe, I missed by about one year the so-called "Baby Boomer" generation. Now, I have three siblings who are, and believe me, there are so many folks older than me that are NOT the target of this blog.
But a whole bunch of you ARE. This is gonna "meander," as my old dear friend Diana Emmons was wont to say.
When did the Boomer thing really start to get talked about? I don't remember, to be honest, but I became aware of it in the 1980s, when suddenly the nickname was being bandied about, to describe what the hippies were like, and what many of them had turned into.
One of the first time I'd heard it being used was when political satirist Mark Russell did a song about them, around 1984...I'm going to try and remember the lyrics, because I cannot find video of it:
"Those boom babies were young and clean, in college they set fire to the dean, now they're Yuppies, see the Yuppies...they had long hair and they wore no shoes, now they're driving big BMWs..."
The idea Russell was putting forward, was how the kids of the postwar pop-out had gone from being free-love hippies to urban professionals obsessed with wealth and materialism. Music in particular reflected during that decade on how the kids "grew up," if that was ever the case.
One of the biggest hits on the country charts in the mid-80s, and one of the most requested songs I ever got was one by the Bellamy Brothers:
I'd used to like the boys, and then more and more, I felt they were doing what I called "Yuppie Country," but this song reflected the way people changed.
In the late 80s, there was an arrogance and elitism I well recall being directed at me, and by colleagues of mine in the media. Young people, as they have in all generations past, were being castigated as lazy, stupid, glued to pop culture, and not doing what they're supposed to. Whatever that was, or is.
Then in the 90s, we had Generation X, or Gen X; slackers, just another term for loser. Gen Y...what the fuck was that?
Every few years, another one, and every generation removed looked down upon those beneath them. It's never changed, but in recent years I began to view just how nasty, mean-spirited and hateful the older generations have become.
Because, once more, they are threatened. George Carlin's most brilliant few minutes are these:
For whatever reason, I can't upload the video, so you'll need the link. The materialism, the greed, the money, the power. Having it all given, and fearing having to give it up.
That is, if you ever had anything to give up; not like you can take your toys to the grave with you. Jello Biafra once noted that younger generations are the ones that are going to put us in nursing homes one day.
I really became aware of how some Boomers never grew up when I worked a job where I found myself on the older end of a company. I felt kind of stuck in the middle.
On one side were a crew of young kids, still in college or just about of it, They were looking for a job, a shot in the business, something. Some of them had skill, a desire to learn, and to do something. I never felt they got the guidance they needed.
On the other side, were colleagues my age and older. Some, not all, were incredibly defensive, and resentful. They didn't like the way the company was being run, they didn't like the management, they especially didn't like the younger ones.
When people weren't complaining about why the company didn't do things the "way we used to," or "the way it should be," they were trashing the kids. They were called a lot of names: lawn mowers, pot smokers, and so forth.
Oh, and those who felt they were not being respected by the company...they weren't being valued, turned to for their experience, not supported, etc.
Respect is earned. It is not given. That's a mantra they used, and when they didn't get what they thought they should be accorded, who got butthurt?
When I heard people bitch about one of the young people who did smoke the stuff, I always wanted to turn around and ask, "How much did you smoke back in the day? How much coke did you snort up? How much PCP did you do? How much crack? How much heroin?"
I'm not one to talk, but to me it smacked of hypocrisy. You had it good, Boomers, and you can't take it with you when you go.
But you can pine for the good 'ol days, can't you? Fear of Change...the C-word!
In recent years, I have become aware of how deep the ancient's claws are dug into the ground, as they're being dragged down into it, kicking and screaming. One of the reasons conservatism remains viable is because it appeals to the past. The long-dead past; and the nostalgia for a time that never really existed.
The days when everything was good, nice, and you were never threatened by anything. When life was so simple, and traditional; when Mom stayed home in the kitchen and made sandwiches, and birthed babies. Dad went to work and brought home the money. Everybody had what they wanted, when they wanted it.
That fantasy is still being played out, in the minds of people who go inward, but not for introspection, not for reflection, for thought of what can be shared with future generations.
No...it's about how great things used to be, how if we pretend hard enough, it's still happening.
I'll give you an example: there is an individual whom I know, and I see around. Don't know his name; but every day he talks incessantly to anyone who will listen, about how he had one job all his working life, then he retired, then worked a few years in a certain school system.
And he can't stop complaining about how badly the system was run. He could not effect change, and so eventually he left. He still harps on it.
He continues to talk about the good old days, comfortable and secure in knowing that his retirement is not threatened (YET).
His ignorance of the struggles young people have show he has forgotten what he had to do to pay his dues. The world has changed, but he refuses to see it.
He is one of many, who he can goad into bitching about the Millennials. Those who call themselves businessmen then spend all the time they can one-upping each other.
"Kids are so lazy! They work for me two weeks, and they want a day off!"
"I got a friend who won't hire anyone under 40, but he can't say that or he'll get sued..."
Oh, you poor employers. Perhaps you need to look in the mirror.
Yes, times have changed. Attitudes change; social media, technology, we have become disconnected, but the techniques have merely been brought up to date.
Radio was supposed to be the disconnector decades ago. The TV; then the Internet, Smartphones, all of it. The principle is the same in each case. It's just a different device.
Yes, we all use it too much. I use it too much. We can all do better.
But my point...after the massacre in Parkland, Florida, we again are reminded of how the old fogies continue to cling to our past. We make excuses for everything; we refuse to change.
Religion, firearms, abortion, sports, politics...these and other topics, we fight over them, friendships are dissolved and families disrupted, because we can't have a conversation anymore.
It works both ways, not just the one each side whines about in their cut and paste comments. Original thought is no longer permitted, in fact, everyone has them, then as they get older, many lose them and find it easy to just immerse themselves in platitudes.
I think, because I am not one of the wealthy, the privileged, or the special, that I stand apart from my fellows. I try so hard not to see everything through a prism that is to my specifications. I try damned hard every day to see each person for who they are.
I'm so often fucking disappointed.
Back to that shooting: those kids that are standing up, refusing to be cowed, unwilling to heel to "authority," because they've seen enough and suffered enough. They now fight back against the Drunk Uncles, the Conspiracy Theorists, the Holocaust Deniers, the Status Quo Keepers, and the rest.
And what do they say? They pound their keyboards, call up talk shows, and generally act like this:
Their childish rants are exemplified by the sound of their screams. The disemboweled rats, their screaming tantrums...you hear them on talk radio, on Youtube, and you read it on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere.
Screaming about the Millennials, shrieking that something that's their will be taken from them...oh, the humanity.
The Millennials and their other numbers want change. And those kids ain't gonna quit till they get it. They're not whiny. They're not coddled. They don't want participation trophies (which are meant to stroke the parent's ego, as are so many things kids are forced to do).
They want shit fixed.
Interesting article here:
I got a message for those kids:
BURN DOWN THE MISSION.
Take it down, take the whole fucking rotten structure down. I will shed no tears. I will not cry for the loss of anything, because what I have is fleeting anyway.
I don't have a big house; I don't want one. I don't have a timeshare in Cozumel; I don't have millions of dollars stashed away. I don't sit around all day telling everyone how I spend my money, and what I spend it on. And I don't bitch about what those kids that you can't stand the sight of are doing.
Because they are fucking doing something.
We can learn so much from the younger generations. Their appreciation for certain parts of life we took for granted is something I notice. I don't fully understand all of it. I don't buy into trends; some people do that, sure, but you can tell a poseur from someone who lives it.
I don't get Hipster culture; I remember the Hippies, 'cause I had two brothers who were. They are two different things; but it doesn't matter.
None of this shit matters. Our nation is on a collision course between a culture that wishes to keep it "the way it was," not realizing it's dead and gone, and a culture that is new, ever-changing, and ever-evolving.
Embrace the Change, people. It's not gonna kill you. You'll still be alive.
You will adapt.
You might...might...even improve yourself.
I write stories about a world I want to see, not the one you're told you are supposed to see. The change we want to see in this world is in our hands.
"Yeah, so what do you do?" You ask.
I write those stories. You won't like them, probably, because there's things in there that make you cringe. They remind you of a time you don't want to know about. They show you the way things are now, and you can't handle it.
Generations of grown-up man children need to get their shit correct.
What else do I do? In my profession, I do my damnedest to be fair. I try very hard to get my job right, to get the facts and information right, and present it to you in a non-biased way. It's not easy. Emotion gets in the way. But you do your best and think hard about what your conscience is going to say to you, if you put it out there, and it's not right.
We're human. But your mistakes are always remembered, not the good things you did 99% of the time.
There's gonna be one hell of a revolution in the next year or two; it might just be a bloodless one, I hope so. But it might not. Either way, change is inevitable.
Get on board; you can still have your convictions, and be you, just remember you are not the center of the universe. I'm sure not.
So kids, Burn Down the Mission. You have the imagination to rebuild; a lot of us are willing to help.
A lot of Americans need to grow up. Now.